What do differences in knowledge access have to do with the social divide? What does knowledge co-creation have to do with the success of innovative initiatives in communities? How can the asset of knowledge in universities and research centers become a resource to solve local problems and global problems?
After twelve thousand years of economic stagnation, the Industrial Revolution started in England in the eighteenth century. Recent studies have shown that the explosion of useful knowledge (scientific and technological research) was the main fuel of that process, and that the massive support of thousands of Enlightenment champions was the main enabling condition for the success of hands-on innovators. Without the support of these enlightened people, innovators would have failed and the millennial economic inertia could have continued indefinitely.
Now, in the twenty first century, when knowledge creation is faster than ever, and the internet is a global network, the problems of ecological degradation and social inequity still seem to be beyond most attempts to solve them.
How can we mobilize emerging knowledge and creative people to effectively address these problems at a national and global scale?
I wrote an article, The New Enlightenment: A Potential Objective for the KM4Dev Community, exploring these questions and suggesting possible answers. KM4Dev (Knowledge Management for Development) is a global learning community of development practitioners and academics oriented toward learning and sharing knowledge about development issues.
If you have been working through some of these questions, I think you may enjoy the full article.
Sebastiao Ferreira is a Visiting Scholar at CoLab.